U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Blocks Fla. Execution; 11th Circuit Didn't Act

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Updated: The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the Florida execution of child killer Mark Dean Schwab, the Associated Press reports. The move was widely expected.

Earlier today a federal appeals court had refused to halt the execution, saying the U.S. Supreme Court can issue an injunction if it sees fit.

The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a pending case before the U.S. Supreme Court that challenges lethal injection is not a valid reason to delay the execution.

“Grants of certiorari do not themselves change the law, [and] they must not be used by courts of this circuit as a basis for granting a stay of execution that would otherwise be denied,” the appeals court said in its opinion (PDF) released today.

Nor should anything be read into the high court’s decision to grant stays in two other cases, the court said.

“Orders granting stays are not precedential decisions. Like most other judicial orders of one or two sentences, they do not extend beyond the case in which they are entered. They don’t have to. The Supreme Court knows why it granted stays in the [two] cases, and it is fully capable of granting one in this case if it chooses to do so.”

Schwab was convicted for the 1991 killing of Junny Rios-Martinez after seeing a photo of the boy in a newspaper article that said he won a kite contest.

Story originally posted on 11/15/2007 at 09:54 AM.

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